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FAQs about Dwarf Lionfish Foods/Feeding/Nutrition

Related Articles: Dwarf Lionfishes, Lionfish & Their RelativesKeeping Lionfishes and their Scorpaeniform Kin Part 1, Part 2, by Anthony Calfo and Robert Fenner,

Related FAQs: Dwarf Lionfishes, Dwarf Lions 2, & by Species: Fu Man Chu Lions (D. biocellatus), Fuzzy Lions (D. brachypterus), Green Lions (D. barberi), Hawaiian Lions (Pterois sphex), Zebra Lions (D. zebra), & Dwarf Lion Identification, Dwarf Lion Behavior, Dwarf Lion Compatibility, Dwarf Lion Selection, Dwarf Lion Systems, Dwarf Lion Disease, Dwarf Lion Reproduction, Lions 1, Lions 2, Lions 3Lions 4Lionfish Selection, Lionfish Compatibility, Lionfish Behavior, Lionfish Feeding, Lionfish Disease,

Lions will sometimes "suck up" invertebrates such as Hermit crabs...

Fromia monilis, the Necklace Sea Star. 

Scorpionfishes: Lionfishes & Much More for Marine Aquariums
Diversity, Selection & Care
New eBook on Amazon: Available here
New Print Book on Create Space: Available here

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Fuzzy Dwarf Lionfish has no eaten in 2 and half weeks; I'm stumped      1/29/16
Hi Guys...your website is full of much information that I have read through to try and save my fish. I keep fearing each day will be his last, but I get home and he is still alive, barely breathing, on the bottom of the tank, sort of laying on his side. I have had him for 9 months now, and he's full grown. Usually eats well. I know now I should have varied his diet more, but I have been feeding him gut loaded silversides and frozen krill;
<... Thiaminase poisoning...>
I realize this may be the problem.
<Yes... I'd be adding B vitamins... to the water now>

In desperation last weekend I bought a small Molly and he had no interest in it all.
<Try Ghost Shrimp; almost irresistible>

It has now been almost 3 weeks since he has eaten.
<Can go for a long while sans eating...>
The strange thing is that he doesn't really look any thinner.
<Poss. edema>
The water parameters are good, I am at work so I can't give you exact numbers but I check them regularly, more so now that this is going on. He has no obvious signs of trauma, injury, etc. His eyes are clear. His dorsal? Fins are not all standing up like they used too; they are laying down , except for the two on the front. At dusk/dawn he swims sporadically, but he doesn't seem to have balance, and never comes to the top of the tank. My question is twofold; how long can a fuzzy go without eating, is there a chance he might recover after this long?
<Yes... again, READ on WWM re Thiaminase, cures>
And this may sound cruel, but I hate watching him suffer. Is there a point where I should humanely put him to sleep?
<I really dislike giving up....>

This is like watching a family member slowly die in front of my eyes.
Bobbi Gilliam
<Anima bona fac (be of good life). Bob Fenner>
RE: Fuzzy Dwarf Lionfish has no eaten in 2 and half weeks; I'm stumped      1/29/16

Thanks for your speedy response. I will read your suggestions and hopefully
I can find a ghost shrimp on the way home.
Bobbi Gilliam
<Cheers, BobF>
RE: Fuzzy Dwarf Lionfish has no eaten in 2 and half weeks; I'm stumped      1/29/16

I hate bother you again, I am looking through articles. When you say add Vitamin B to the water, is that regular old vitamin B, or something specific to fish?
Bobbi Gilliam
<The B vitamins are identical for humans and ornamental aquatics. Liquid prep.s are (of course) preferable. B>
Fuzzy Dwarf Has Died      2/1/16

Bob, I emailed you last week about my fuzzy dwarf that had not eaten in 3 weeks, was laying on the bottom and breathing slowly. You suggested Thiamine
poisoning, and that I should add vitamin B drops to the water, which I began that day. His tank mate was a foxface; he has been fine, not acting sick at all.
<Yikes; the Siganid may have poked the Dendrochirus... this could be the  source, could have been the source of trouble here
They have been together since I have had the fuzzy, for 9 months. I did a 20% water change on Saturday. I could never get the fuzzy to eat. Sunday, the foxface suddenly dies. The fuzzy will not make it much longer. The only new symptoms are that he is very pale in color, and now gasping for air. I'm pretty devastated. My question is, how long should I wait before adding another fish?
<At least a few weeks and a large water change>
My water param.s are fine, 0 nitrate nitrite, 8.4 ph, salinity 1.023. Thanks in advance.
Bobbi Gilliam
<Bob Fenner>
re: Fuzzy Dwarf Has Died      2/1/16

I thought they were ideal tankmates...there is so much conflicting information out there and they seemed to get along.
<? Search WWM for both groups. PLENTY of troubled incidences>
Can you suggest a mate for the fuzzy dwarf, or does he even need one?
<.... http://www.wetwebmedia.com/dwflioncompfaqs.htm
I'm going to do this right from the beginning, this time. My tank in a 46 gallon bow front. Thanks again.
re: Fuzzy Dwarf Has Died      2/1/16

Thank you
Baby Fuzzy Dwarf Feeding Schedule     2/26/16

Hi Crew,
I wrote in several weeks ago about my adult fuzzy dying. I followed Bob's advice, did a large water change, cleaned and changed all filter media, and waited 3 weeks. My new fuzzy arrived 2 days ago, and she(for now) is very
tiny-much smaller than I expected. I acclimated her correctly, left the lights off for most of the first day. Lo and behold, she gobbled up a ghost shrimp right away.
I was surprised, didn't expect her to eat so quickly. The shrimp was the smallest I had. Last night she ate two more very small ghost shrimp. My question is this; I know it's best not to feed more than three times a week, maybe a little more for juveniles, but this is a baby.
Should I feed one to two per day until she gets a little bigger, or is this too much?
<Make your observation of the fish's "tummy area" your guide here... it should not stay bloated/convex continuously... but if concave, feed daily>
I have a stocked feeder aquarium ready to go, just don't want to over/underfeed the little thing. My last fuzzy was much larger when I got it. Thanks in advance for your advice.
Bobbi Gilliam
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Re Fuzzy Dwarf-size and feeding      3/22/16

Hi Bob,
<Ms. G>
I have contacted you before regarding my very small fuzzy dwarf. I received him/her February 23 and it has been on a diet of gut loaded ghost shrimp, small, one per day. I had gotten a molly in preparation for the fuzzy and have it in a 10 gallon, along with the ghost shrimp. I decided to try and start weaning the fuzzy to silversides last week, and that did not go over well. The fuzzy is so small I'm afraid to let it go more than one day without eating. In the meantime, the Molly I originally bought to cycle the 10 gallon/possibly feed to the fuzzy if need be had babies-and just had
more. I had no shrimp and hate to go backwards in the converting food cycle. I don't think the fuzzy recognizes fish as a food source just yet, although it did eat one day before last. My question is this; should I feed the fuzzy a diet of mollies for a week or two then try to convert again?
The fish is less than the size of my thumb and I am a small woman. How safe is it to let a fish so small go without eating?
<One that's in good health otherwise; can easily go a week sans food>
Thanks in advance.
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Dwarf lion feeding; non native speaker (?)      10/17/15
Hey. I have a dwarf zebra lionfish. I was told that it was already eating frozen foods but i couldn't get it to eat so i bought some ghost shrimp and he went to town on them <period> well i just did a second feeding and there was one shrimp that was bigger then which i didn't think nothing of cause i figured my pink spot goby would have gotten to it first cause he loves them.
But the lionfish got it and it took him a little bit to get it down the hatch. Should i be more concerned about the size of the shrimp next time i buy some?
Of should i start feeding guppies cause the first time i bought goupies and i asume the lionfish ate them cause the goby never went for them and i did see the lion catch one but he tried and when i got back feom the store the goupies were all gone? Thanks!
<I'd be training this Dendrochirus on other foods. READ here:
Bob Fenner>

Dwarf zebra lionfish; beh., fdg.        8/18/15
Hello, your site has been great for a lot of information on dwarf lionfish.
I just recently got a dwarf zebra (4 days ago) and he is a small guy (about 1.5-2inches) eating ghost shrimp no problem.
<Mmm; careful not to overfeed... one every 2-3 days max.>

One odd thing about him is he doesn't hide whatsoever, he is constantly at the top of the tank swimming against the flow. From what I read this is the total opposite from a lionfish. He isn't gasping for air, he may be breathing a tad fast, but I assume it's most likely because he's new and swimming against the current. This goes one lights on and lights off. I
have seen him hiding the first day and that's it. The rest of the time he is in the same spot of the tank up front on the top. Peaceful tankmates no of them have come close to harassing him. 55 gallon corner tank with a blue spot puffer, Midas Benny, and six spot goby. Is this anything to be concerned about?
<Mmm; no... this fish may well have lost some respiratory capacity (hemolysis from the trials of shipping), or just enjoy the current>
He is gorgeous and definitely don't want to lose him. Thank you.
Tank parameters:
Ammonia: 0
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: 5-10
Ph: 8
<I'd just be patient. Bob Fenner>

shrimp eggs for fuzzy dwarf lionfish     4/18/14
Hello dear experts ! trust this finds you all in great spirits...knocking on your doors once again from Denmark !
<Hi there!>
I have a fuzzy dwarf lionfish abt 3 inches (pl see attached pic) for a week now and is showing interest in food such as bits of shrimp meat offered by tweezers but spits them out again. He seems to prefer clusters of shrimp eggs instead (eggs coming the same shrimps as shown in second pic) and so do all the other tank mates !
<I see>
My qs are, how long can I feed the lion with shrimp eggs?
<As part (a few tens of percent) of overall foods; no problem>
and could it affect water quality or fish health ?
<Can be trouble if exclusive>
The shrimps (and hence the eggs) are bought well-frozen from supermarkets.
The lion is fed abt 3 times a week. I don't mind trying the shrimp meat or bits of squids etc as well but it is a pain to collect all the non-eaten bits from the tank floor. Thanks a lot for your knowledge sharing, br
<Do read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/dwflionfdgfaqs.htm
I would expand this diet... to other marine based meaty items... fish and invertebrate... frutti de mar... frozen/defrosted likely.
Bob Fenner>

dwarf lionfish; fdg., rdg.     10/8/13
Good afternoon,
<Gosh; about ten AM here PST>
I have a dwarf lionfish that has suddenly stopped eating.
<Mmm, happens>

I bought him about two months ago and he has been eating every other day
<... this is too frequently.
I would feed sm. or lg. lions, small species or not, about twice a week... You've not read on WWM re. Let's have you do so: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/dwflionfdgfaqs.htm
and the linked files... Bob Fenner>
since then like a champ until 10 days ago. The only food he would eat all along is ghost shrimp now when I put them in he seems afraid of them. He knows when it is feeding time because he comes right out but when one goes near him he backs up away from it. I have tried Mysis shrimp, krill, guppies etc and he wants nothing to do with anything. His color is
beautiful, he still perches normally, he's not skinny or discolored. At first, I thought maybe he was blind and could not see them but i'm positive he is not blind. Our water is perfect. It is tested twice a week and nobody in the tank is sick at all. Could you please give me some ideas of what to do because we love him and don't want to lose him. Thank you so much.

Lion care and feeding.    12/31/12
I am writing to ask about the care of the fuzzy dwarf lion. Is it possible to keep this species in a 20 gallon tank as the only fish?
<It is; starting w/ a smaller specimen, taking care not to over feed>
 I won't be having any snails or crabs either. The rocks would be mostly suspended into a cave structure as well.
Also, I live right next to an inlet between a marsh and the ocean. I frequently see huge groups of tiny clear shrimp with orange stripes. I can also easily catch small bait fish. Is it ok to feed these things to the lion?
<Very likely so; though I would ask that you read Marco's piece on WWM re Thiaminase. Bob Fenner>

Dwarf Lion hlth./fdg.    11/6/11
Hi guys,
I have a dwarf fuzzy lion which I have had for about 4 weeks now. He was eating like a champ, loves mysis shrimp.
<Trouble as a steady/solitary diet...>
My tank is a 110 gal. using live sand and rock for a filter. There is 0 ammonia, no nitrites, .less than .05 nitrates. the ph is 8.4 salinity is .021
<1.021... would keep this up to near seawater strength/concentration... 1.025 or so. See WWM re SPG, rationale>
measured using a refractometer. The tank mates are a Koran angel, a flame angel, hippo tank, Huma tang, <likely trigger> goat
fish, harlequin tusk. All are the small size about 1.5 inches.
<Will need more space in time... like a year or so>
The problem is
the lionfish is having spasms and swimming upside down. I did a 20 % water change and now I don't know what else to do for him. Please any advice will be appreciated.
Thank you Andy G
<Do read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/ca/volume_6/volume_6_1/thiaminase.htm
and here: http://wetwebmedia.com/dwflionfdgfaqs.htm
Cheers, Bob Fenner>
Re: http://wetwebmedia.com/dwflionfdgfaqs.htm
Thank you for your direction.

Dwarf Lionfish, Feeding, Compatability 19.01.09
Hey Guys, <Hi Jake> I recently purchased a Dwarf Lionfish upon arriving back from Iraq and setting up my aquariums again. Within this tank I made it a predator tank and was really looking forward to it but now I am getting worried. I have one of those all in one new Red Sea Max tanks <the largest of which are about 60 gallons, although you don't indicate which one you have> and have a maroon clown, chainlink eel, and this lionfish in it <Mmm, a tight fit, and I would not recommend keeping a Moray and a Lion together in such a small setting. Too much risk of the Moray getting stung in here>. Upon getting it the store where I purchased it told me that I should feed it live ghost shrimp till I can get him eating off a feeding stick etc <Yes, but the store should have been willing to do this for you. Never buy a fish unless it feeds in the shop, the foods that you yourself will be feeding it, especially Lionfish. Only the Volitans in my experience is a good initial feeder>. So I have been doing so until about a week ago. I came home from the base that night and he would not eat a thing. I normally feed every two days about 3-4 ghost shrimp <And he normally eats these ok? This is not too bad then, because a healthy fish can go some time without food, and Lions are fine with one meal every 3 days or so. Have you looked here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/dwflionfdgfaqs.htm>. Well he didn't want to eat anything, absolutely nothing. Instead all he wanted to do was stay perched and just chill <typical behaviour>. Well about two days ago I also noticed that his eye were starting to swell up <Just the one? Probably an injury> and etc <?> and then another buddy told me that he was sick (cloudy eye) or something...<easily rectified with good attention to water quality. No need to treat with anything in 99% of cases, but a little Epsom salt will do no harm here. Can you provide a picture?> I wanted to know why he would get this and if this is true as to what he has...<just posted, if one eye most likely is an injury, if both then water quality is your most likely culprit> I was told to look for worms around his eyes or etc.. like flat worms.. never see anything..<always good to observe for such things anyway, but not a common or/ the likely issue> I don't want him to die cause he's become a family pet and even has a place in my upcoming wedding...<Yes'¦these fishes are very personable -- I have a Pterois Radiata about whom I feel the same way!> I just want to fix him... as for my water I always keep the SAL around 1.023 <would raise this a couple notches>--- temp around 76-78 and everything else within normal param..<? This means nothing> and do two water changes every month... Please help guys... I want to make this guy right! <Ok, here is what I think could be your issue/s: These fishes do not feed well initially when surrounded by aggressive feeders. They should be isolated and trained to feed until they are confident and will take food from tongs or a stick every time before being introduced to rambunctious tankmates. This is best done in a QT tank, or in the display using a 'cage' of some kind to separate it from the other fish if you have the space. You have a moray (a very aggressive feeder) and a maroon clown (an aggressive fish) in with this lion, and you are going to find it tough going getting it to feed properly in this setting. You need to review your stocking because these fishes are incompatible, will pollute your tank which could easily already be the cause of the cloudy eye, alternatively the fishes you have in with the lion have made it nervous, causing it to injure itself on a rock, or the maroon has attacked the Lion. Either way, it's tankmates and their compatibility are a/the main issue here and will continue to be>. Respectfully <Sincerely!>, Jake <Simon>

Fuzzy Dwarf Lionfish (RMF, are there "safe" feeders for marines?)<Yes; of marine origin.> 12/10/09
hello, my fuzzy dwarf lionfish that I've had for about four months is suddenly loosing his color.
<Oh? Fish maintain their colour via foodstuffs, primarily carotenoids in crustaceans and various other substances in algae. Even predators that don't eat these things directly obtain them via their prey. Fish will also alter their colour if the environment isn't quite right, so it's a good idea to review things like water quality, water chemistry, social
interactions, etc.>
He is eating frozen squid and krill and the occasional rosy red.
<Why are you feeding this fish minnows? Didn't get the memo? Just to reiterate: never, ever feed cyprinids to predatory fish. They contain too much fat and high quantities of thiaminase. Since crustaceans and at least some squid species also contain thiaminase, this is an easy way to create a vitamin B1 deficiency. Also cheap feeder fish are the #1 best way to deliver parasites into your prize fish. There is no, repeat NO, reason to use such fish. The only safe feeders are home-bred, gut-loaded killifish and livebearers, and possibly cichlids such as tilapia, assuming the predator in question can handle prey with spiny fins (not all can). Bob Fenner might well argue that you shouldn't use freshwater fish at all for marine predators, <I might. RMF> though brackish water mollies and pupfish-type killifish should be safe. <They are. RMF> The key thing is you fatten these feeders up on algae-based flake and chopped Sushi Nori, and that way you deliver a vitamin-rich mouthful to your predator. Have you ever kept cats? When cats catch birds and mice, the bits they ALWAYS eat first are the liver and guts, not the "meat". Why? Because these internal organs contain all the vitamins the cat needs to stay healthy. Muscle itself is basically empty calories, and predators don't need all that much of it. But internal organs are essential, since things like vitamin C and iodine are lacking in muscle tissue but rich in plants/algae (and therefore concentrated in the digestive tract and internal organs).>
I don't soak the food in anything since my LFS don't carry any of that stuff, and I've tried plain garlic juice but it left a nasty oily film on the top of the water.
<A real issue with predators, whether marine or freshwater, is making sure they get enough vitamins. If you can use whole lancefish for example, stuffing them with some Spirulina flake or a couple of quality pellets like Hikari Cichlid Gold will "gut load" them for you. But if you're feeding small morsels, then you really should be using a vitamin supplement.
There's an art to keeping predatory fish precisely because it's so easy to give them a vitamin-limited diet. Plenty calories, so they seem energetic, but vitamin limited, so over time they become prone to various disorders.
Neurological problems like blindness are especially common.>
When I first got him he would be clear in the mornings right when I turned the light on but so where my damsels so I didn't worry about it much. I've noticed him perching on the heater lately instead of the live rock so I thought he might be cold and the water temperature was kinda low at 75 degrees so I turned it up to 78, but he still perches there.
<You want to put a kybosh on this bad habit for a start! I'd strongly recommend moving the heater to the sump if that's an option, but failing that, use a plastic heater guard. Fish burn themselves all too easily.
Obviously, set the heater at an appropriate temperature for the species in question. The usual 25 C/77 F should be adequate. Keeping fish cooler than that really isn't sensible in the long term unless you're keeping species that particularly benefit from such conditions.>
If he see's me he will gain his color back, but lately he is still staying a little faded so that's why I writing you. Ammonia is 0 nitrites are 0 and nitrates are under 15. My only other guess is he shares a tank with a Snowflake eel which when it comes to feeding time sometimes bumps into the lion.
<Morays are "legally blind" and mostly hunt by smell. They are very opportunistic, so don't mix morays with "bite size" tankmates. Echidna spp. are primarily invertebrate eaters (hence the molariform teeth) but that doesn't mean they won't snap at any dozy fish that doesn't make at least a token effort to keep our of range. While we're talking about morays, do bear in mind they are exceedingly prone to thiaminase problems if fed just crustaceans and mussels. Do read Marco's excellent piece on the topic, here:
I thought this would stress the eel out since the lion is venomous but the eel seems unaffected. The eel resides in the live rock almost all day and its only at feeding time that he comes out.
<Echidna spp. are nocturnal and territorial, so this behaviour is entirely normal.>
By the way I feed the lion every other day or when its obvious he is hungry. He is still eating he is just almost clear in color.
<I tend to feed my predators small meals daily rather than big meals every day or two. Public aquaria work that way because it reduces aggression and predatory instincts somewhat, and in home aquaria, it helps reduce the risk
of water pollution if the predator regurgitates its meal, as they sometimes do.>
Thanks for any help you can give.
Sincerely, Colby
<My gut feeling here is that this Dendrochirus is simply too cold, but I also think a poor diet is at least part of the problem. Up the temperature to something optimal for the species you have, and vary the diet, using thiaminase-free wet-frozen foods such as strips of tilapia fillet. The use of a vitamin supplement is very important if the range of foods you're offering is limited. Only use feeder fish if you're breeding them at home and gut-loading them first. Otherwise you're simply adding another variable to the equation for no practical benefit. Do read Bob's piece on feeders and Lionfish, here:
Do note that the connection between cheap feeders and sick Lionfish is very clear. My own thoughts and solutions are here:
Hope this helps. Cheers, Neale.>

Help! is my tank to big for lionfish to see food?
Help! Is my tank to big for lionfish to see food?, Feeder Fish 8/17/09  8/18/09
Hey, my tank is a 3 feet by 1.5 feet by 1.5 feet, in it I have a few live rock for the lionfish to hide in. I`ve recently purchased a fu Manchu lionfish, and its the only lionfish in the tank.
<What other fish are in the tank with him?>
It measures 3 inches long. I placed in feeder guppies but I don't think he can see it,
<Why do you feel this way? There are so many other reasons for not eating, water quality, overall health, harassment, prey size just to name a few.>
So what I did was I caught the guppy in a net and put it in front of the fu Manchu, but he still doesn't it. What should I do?? Thanks a lot!!
<Step one is stop trying to feed your lion live feeder fish, they are not good for him or the health of your tank,
A better choice would be ghost/glass shrimp, which are smaller, less likely to bring in disease, and easier to use as a stepping stone towards feeding of non-live items. Its not surprising that this generally retiring ambush predator would not eat a guppy out of the net in the open, it was probably to stressed by the net to even think about eating. How is this fish's behavior otherwise? Coloring? What are your water parameters? How long has the tank been set up?>

Fuzzy Dwarf Lionfish long lasting feeding strike   8/10/09
Hello Crew,
Let me first state that I am overwhelmed by the amount of information that you have packed into your site. It literally took me days to finish scanning through all of your lionfish information. There isn't a better place on the net, thank you!
The real reason I email you today though is about my fuzzy dwarf lionfish. I have read all about their feeding strikes on your site, but am starting to worry slightly about this particular case. I got my lionfish on July 24th from a LFS about an hour and a half away. They claimed that the lionfish was eating frozen krill soaked in garlic,
<Insufficient nutritionally>
but I tended to think otherwise. I watched them drop a couple pieces into it's tank and only saw the lion stay in hiding as it's tankmates (two tangs) gobbled up all of the food. It had been in the LFS tank since July
14th (10 days) and I figured it was pretty safe to say it hadn't eaten at all, and was not weaned to frozen food.
I brought the lion home and put it into it's own, prepared tank, and it found a nice cave and immediately settled in. It's colors were pretty faded, and it was acting pretty lethargic, and it looked like it's days were numbered. I tried feeding it some krill on a stick, but to no avail.
He didn't even glance at it, and it almost seemed as if he was just floating in the current. I made a trip down to my only local LFS and bought the only live feeders that they had (feeder guppies) vowing that I would never feed them to "Leo" again after this. I took them home and dropped the three very small ones in the tank. I watched as he happily chased all of them down and ate them.
I waiting a couple days before offering up some more frozen krill soaked in garlic, but again to no avail. I decided to combat his fading colors and feed him some ghost shrimp.
<A good choice>
I read on your site that these were higher in a certain marine protein and were slightly more nutritious then feeders. I drove a longer hour trip to grab some ghost shrimp and brought them back home. Over the next few days I fed them sparingly to the lion, while offering frozen krill at the same time, and he ate the shrimp up in no time, leaving the krill. His colors started to brighten, he seemed much more active, and looked very healthy.
On august 1st I decided that I would trip
to wean him to frozens now that he looked healthy. I bought some medium sized krill and some small Mysis shrimp. Since the first, I've been only trying to feed him these two foods. I have tried putting them on a stick,
but he barely gives them much attention. He seems to pay more attention to the frozen food when it's dropped into a current and it whizzes by him. I have tried feeding him at different times of day and night, but without success. I have had a few brief moments of "success" though. Though it was a bit strange, a few days ago he came swimming to the surface and nipped at a test strip that I was holding into the water. He also ate a frozen Mysis shrimp that floated by him, but spit it back out a second later. A couple days ago he actually nipped at the krill that I had on the stick. He didn't take all of it, just a little, and hasn't taken any since.
It's now august 9th and he is looking the same way he did when I brought him home. Very un-active, lethargic, faded. His eyes aren't clouded though. All of his water parameters are excellent, and I've kept nitrates below 20 ppm across the board. I'm wondering now what more I can do for him.
<Mmm, really just more of the same... or return this fish, give it to someone else...>
I read on your site that I should only be concerned if his strike goes on past 10 days. It's about 8 days now, and his condition really seems to be slipping. I know that he can't survive solely on live feeders, and needs
frozens weaned in. I'm not sure what do to at this point though. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks!
<... Up to you... to keep supplying live foods, keep trying to wean onto frozen... I would expand the latter diet... to include fish... perhaps frozen/defrosted silversides are at least available there... or some other small fishes from the seafood, maybe oriental foods section/food store. Bob Fenner>

Re: Fuzzy Dwarf Lionfish long lasting feeding strike   8/10/09
Thank you very very much for your quick response. I greatly appreciate it.
A short update though. Last night after emailing you I decided to feed him after it was dark in the house. I took a piece of krill that had been soaked in garlic and dropped it into the tank. It caught a current and sped by him. He tracked it down and grabbed it. I waited a few seconds then went downstairs to put the remaining krill in the freezer, celebrating my success. I returned upstairs about a minute later to find the krill on the sand underneath the lionfish still in one piece. The lion really seemed to be trying to digest it and did so for a good 30 seconds or so. I don't think it was that the piece was too big, He easily fit it all in his mouth, and it was about the same size as the ghost shrimp he was eating. I now am wondering if he may have a gut blockage since he has twice spit out his food.
<Possibly; but the taking in of the guppies, ghost shrimp argues against this>
Maybe I caused this by just feeding him those two small guppies. I looked more into gut blockage on your site and saw that a lot of lions experiencing this problem would try to open their mouths real wide and try to spit something out. I have only seen this lionfish open its mouth as such twice, and it was more then a week ago since I last saw that kind of a spasm. Your insight is probably much more experienced then mine though, and I eagerly await to hear it. Thank you so much
<... again, krill, shellfish are not "that" palatable, digestible... I would look into other (fish) foods, saltwater in origin... BobF>

Hungry, Hungry Lionfish, dwarf   7/12/09
First of all, thank you for your site, I have found it to be the most informative I have found, and I have spent hours on the web looking for info to help me with my current dilemma.
<Fire away.>
I have a 120 gallon reef tank that currently houses a coral beauty angelfish, cowfish, 2 clownfish, a dragon goby, 2 scooter blennies, one cleaner shrimp, and a cleaning crew, and the brand new fuzzy dwarf lionfish. On a recent trip to my LFS I fell in love in with a beautiful little juvenile fuzzy dwarf lionfish (about 2"). Being relatively new to the hobby, I rely a lot on the advice of the owner of this store and one of his employees, and so far they have been extremely knowledgeable, and this is what they told me in regards to the fuzzy dwarf lion...
He is actually a pretty peaceful, reef safe fish that kind of hangs out and waits for food to come to him. He is not safe for small ornamental shrimp and he will eat things that will fit in his mouth, but buying them little and growing up in your tank, he should be just fine in your tank.
<More or less accurate; Dendrochirus tend to make excellent aquarium residents, though they are of course predatory, and like any fish, need sufficient space to feel settled. It's unwise to trust fish not to eat small fish if they grow up with them, though I admit in some cases this does actually seem to happen, the predator viewing existing small fish as "part of the scenery". But it's not a reliably strategy, and Dendrochirus have relatively large mouths given their body size, and being somewhat nocturnal, they're well able to catch sleeping fish of considerable size.>
After reading thru much of your site, I am really beginning to doubt that advice, that being said here is my problem. I can find a lot of information on lion fish that don't want to eat, or won't eat anything except live feeder fish, my fish is apparently the exception to the rule.
<Depends a lot on the aquarist and the aquarium, I think.>
He would not eat the first few days I brought him home (which in hindsight I actually think is due to the absence of my Pederson shrimp). On the third day I got some tongs, waived some frozen krill shrimp in front of him, dropped it, and he gladly ate it.
<Sounds good!>
I feed my fish twice a day, the next morning when I went to feed them, there he was with everyone else waiting to be fed. Since that time, when I go to feed he swims to the top waiting for his food. A few days later I was in my LFS and I asked how often they should be eating and was told a couple of times a week, yikes!
<I actually don't treat my predatory fish this way; I prefer to give them smaller, daily meals instead. My rationale is that this avoids dumping a large meal into the tank, and so problems with regurgitating food and sudden changes in water quality are avoided. If you choose high ash content foods (i.e., things like Krill that come with skeletons as well as the meat) then the actual amount of protein added to the system is rather small, typically 5%. So even in fairly bulky amounts, you aren't actually adding much ammonia-producing material. Plus, the indigestible content makes the fish feel "full", like fibre in plant foods, so that the fish is satisfied more quickly. In the wild, fish tend to consume high ash content foods a lot of the time, so this is a very natural approach to feeding them; the 30-40% protein foods we give them, like flakes and pellets, simply don't exist in the wild!>
But he is hungry twice a day, I have read these fish can eat themselves to death.
<Yes and no. Overfeeding is rarely (ever?) about a fish eating so much it gets physically ill; the issue is that too much food in an aquarium reduces water quality, because protein is ultimately metabolised by the fish and then the filter bacteria to nitrate and phosphate. Moreover, too much of the wrong foods can cause serious health problems, just as when humans eat too much of the wrong things. In the case of fish, certain fats seem to cause problems, these fats coming primarily from certain freshwater fish, notably the Cyprinidae (goldfish, minnows, etc.).
In addition, some fish meats and seafood contain thiaminase, and this destroys Vitamin B1, and over the long term, this leads to all sorts of problems.
The main thing with predatory fish is to offer them a variety: nothing beats this approach! For things like Lionfish, you can use all sorts of things, but try to minimise the use of prawns and mussels since these contain a lot of thiaminase, and instead concentrate on squid, thiaminase-free white fish such as tilapia, flounder and cod, and thiaminase-free shellfish like cockles and squid. Earthworms are also superb foods for all predatory fish, though you need to collect them from clean (i.e., organic, non-pesticide-sprayed) areas. The aim is to offer enough food the fish has a gently convex belly but doesn't look bloated. In between meals, the predatory fish should be alert and looking for another meal, rather than bloated and resting contentedly. Really, much what people say about the optimal human diet for health: not too much, lots of variety, plenty of fibre!>
So I tried not feeding him when I feed everyone else, since he is the only one eating krill, everyone else gets a variety of pellets, Mysis, and brine shrimp. If I don't feed him, then he starts to get active, and swims around the tank, something he never does, I am assuming he is looking for food, and not wanting any of his tank mates to become dinner, I cave in and feed him. I am currently just giving him smaller pieces of the krill twice a day until I can find a solution.
<Krill is quite a good food, but don't use it exclusively.>
<Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Hungry, Hungry Lionfish 7/12/09
Thank You so much for your speedy response! I feel much better about Leo's future. I will continue to feed him when he is hungry, but I will add some variety to it.
Again, thank you so much for your quick response and for providing a site with such an amazing wealth of knowledge!!
<Happy to help! Enjoy your fishkeeping. Cheers, Neale.>

Fuzzy Dwarf Lion Eating Habits... Unique Situation/Not Unique At All  6/30/09
Hey Crew,
Love the site/database... I've looked through most of the info here and I haven't found anything too conclusive on my current dilemma. I'm pretty experienced with freshwater (esp. African Cich's) but somewhat new to saltwater. I have set up my second SW reef tank (46g... first was 20g). Its been stocked with 60 lbs of well cured liverock, various corals (not important in this case), live sand, Reef Octopus HOB skimmer, Halides and T7's, UV sterilizer, and I run a Marineland Emperor 400 - half filled with liverock fragments, the other half a sponge filter and SeaChem Purigen. Here's the livestock: 2 adult True Percula Clowns, 1 juvenile (1.5 inch) Ocellaris clown, 1 juvenile Regal Tang (I know),
<If you know, why did you buy it? Your tank will be much too small for this fish.>
1 adult Diamond Goby, 1 Bicolor Angel,
<A difficult fish to keep for someone new to saltwater.>
and (drum roll......) 1 juvenile Fuzzy Dwarf Lion whom is about 2.5 in. long, including fins.
<That "drum roll" is going to turn to "taps" before too long.>
I know... extremely risky, and even overstocked.
<"I know" again, but still purchased.>
But I've got a LFS who will openly trade with me. So here's the dilemma. The tank has been for the most part up and running for the past 6-8 weeks, young I know, but thriving.
<Not nearly aged enough for the Regal Tang and the Bi-Color Angel.>
Well 5 days ago I was shown a juvy dwarf lion at my favorite LFS. They know me there and know the tanks that I've had and that I've been working on. Well, we were talking about the livestock which I'm currently housing and we concluded that the lil 2.5 inch lion would probably work well in the long run, under the condition that he acclimates to prepared food.
<Even if acclimated to prepared food, live food will be the first choice if available.>
Hopefully, being introduced to his tankmates (clowns) at such a young age will ultimately spare their lives.... at least for a while. So I went ahead and rolled the dice, drip acclimated, so on and so forth. 5 days in he has yet to eat any of the prepared food which I've offered. Frozen Mysis and Frozen Carnivorous Cuisine (recommended by LFS...)
<Not unusual at all.>
So I have multiple breeding pairs of African Cichlids whom yield me a constant supply of fry and juveniles... to the point where it's a nuisance. I have read all about the truths of feeding freshwater fish to lions... but I had to try it out. I threw two of my many 6 week old African juveniles (sp. Pseud. Acei) in the tank. He hunted them down and gobbled em up. So, here we stand with my question. If I were to feed the Pseudotropheus Acei fry/juveniles an exclusive veggie(Spirulina, etc) and marine based diet(reef flakes) (they friggin eat anything!) do you think they would make a legitimate/safe... or at least temporarily safe diet for my adorable dwarf fuzzy? At least compared to the typical freshwater feeder fish that are fed to Lions.
<Would be fine, stay away from feeding goldfish. I don't understand why you are willing to go through all this trouble when this fish will be having clownfish for dinner one day. These fish can exceed 6" in length as an adult, and your tank will soon be too small for it, and certainly will not handle the high waste levels/load produced by this fish and other inhabitants. I don't think too much of your LFS selling you some of these fish knowing your tank size, inhabitants, and experience level.>
Thanks for the help,
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
- Drew Canale
P.S. - I introduced the 2 adult Percula's a week after I had the juvenile ocellaris, and they absolutely love each other, which I great to see. Well ever since I put the lion in the tank, I have noticed that at night, they shelter and protect my little ocellaris in a corner of the tank. It's the cutest thing I've ever seen. The lion has been really peaceful so far.
<Won't be cute too much longer. With your inhabitants and tank size, you have a recipe for disaster.>

Re: Dwarf Lionfish Health\Feeding 4/5/2009
Hi Mike
<Hi Peter>
Thanks for the reply. The answer to your questions. There is only 6 turbo snails and 5 hermits crabs in with the dwarf lion fish.
<Ahh OK, fairly light load then>
I did a 10% change today and was curious about the water I was adding. I did a test for nitrates on the water from the tap, that was okay 0 reading, I prepped the water ( added salt, tap cond. PH 8.2, Cycle) and did a nitrate test on this and it came back as 15ppm which seems high.
<Hmm.... wouldn't add the cycle to the make up water. Do make another batch without the Cycle and test again.
If you are still getting a high reading, you should consider changing your salt mix.>
I was really worried about the dwarf, so I tried him with 6 Neons ( hated doing it but was getting desperate) and he was a different fish, ate them all in a couple of min.s.
More active eyes have cleared up, which seems maybe he was not on frozen before?
<I think the fish store was stretching the truth a bit. It is good that he ate them, now you can start weaning him on non-live food>
I have enclosed a couple of pics of the tank and structure of rocks etc.
<Looks like a nice set up. I notice some green algae on your rocks, probably related to your nitrate levels.>
What was in the tank before was an emperor angel, 1 Firefish, 2 humbugs, 1 clown, 1 psychedelic, keyhole dwarf angel, and a Longnose butterfly.
The butterfly was getting harassed by the emperor and got the velvet 1st.
Don't know what else I can tell you.
Thanks for the links will check them out.
Regards Peter
<My Pleasure>

Re: Dwarf Lionfish Health\Feeding (4/8/2009) Update with BGA control 5/4/2009
Hi Mike
<Hi Peter.>
Fuzzy still doing well, still not weaned him off live yet, but I leave him a few days and he then shows interest in dead at first but does not eat it, but I am sure with perseverance he will come around.
<It can take some time. Just keep trying.>
My nitrates are still quite high, however I do have good news.
<Keep up with the water changes for the nitrates, or add some macroalgae.>
The red slime I had is no longer,
<Excellent News.>
I really don't know what I did, except I do not add cycle anymore, thanks for the tip, and basically I left the tank alone. I used to clean the red stuff as soon as it appeared, I left it for a week without touching it and
although initially it got worse after 2-3 days it started to recede, and within 2 weeks it was gone.
<It likely ran out of stuff to 'eat'>
I have now had 3 clear days without it appearing.
Thought I would let you know as it may help other marine keepers get rid of this problem.
<Thank you for sharing this.>
Regards Peter
P.S. Picking up an Eel today to add to the tank, but he IS eating lancefish (no weaning required).
<Do read up on its care requirements. Here is a great place to start:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/morays.htm >

Dwarf Lionfish: Polly Want a Minnow? - 7/1/08 Hello good people. <Hello!> I've been reading your Q & As on Dwarf Lionfish and you stated that you shouldn't feed marine fish minnows. <Right...chronic poor nutritive value, digestion issues...> I gave my guy 2 minnows the other day and he gulped them up like it was no tomorrow. I'm kind of nervous now that I read where you said that it can be harmful to the little guy. I'm looking at him now and he's swimming back and forth in the front of the tank. It's almost like he wants minnows now. <In a sense...is a predator. Unlikely for him to have developed a 'preference' after two minnows- and these fish capture by surprise, not hunting.> Or maybe he's sick?? I don't know. I've been throwing krill, and frozen Mysis shrimp in there but, what I want to know is what else is good for them to eat? <Probably won't get much response> Earth worms? <If we're going for natural diet, these are definitely out> Marine flakes? <I'd be impressed if you got a lion to eat these...and they wouldn't come close to supplying the biomass a lionfish needs to consume in order to survive> I'm getting the idea that he (Lion-O) only wants live stuff. <You're getting the picture. Live ghost shrimp can be used to help train him to accept less-live things. Giving him one will prime his feeding response, then using feeding tongs to wave a piece of raw shrimp (shell on), marine fish, or squid (preferably soaked in vitamins) will hopefully teach him that these items are equally desirable as live> Can you help me? <Also continue to read wetwebmedia.com re lionfish and their care. Benjamin>

Re: Dwarf Lionfish Health\Feeding 4/5/2009
Hi Mike
<Hi Peter>
Thanks for the reply. The answer to your questions. There is only 6 turbo snails and 5 hermits crabs in with the dwarf lion fish.
<Ahh OK, fairly light load then>
I did a 10% change today and was curious about the water I was adding. I did a test for nitrates on the water from the tap, that was okay 0 reading, I prepped the water ( added salt, tap cond. PH 8.2, Cycle) and did a nitrate test on this and it came back as 15ppm which seems high.
<Hmm.... wouldn't add the cycle to the make up water. Do make another batch without the Cycle and test again.
If you are still getting a high reading, you should consider changing your salt mix.>
I was really worried about the dwarf, so I tried him with 6 Neons ( hated doing it but was getting desperate) and he was a different fish, ate them all in a couple of min.s.
More active eyes have cleared up, which seems maybe he was not on frozen before?
<I think the fish store was stretching the truth a bit. It is good that he ate them, now you can start weaning him on non-live food>
I have enclosed a couple of pics of the tank and structure of rocks etc.
<Looks like a nice set up. I notice some green algae on your rocks, probably related to your nitrate levels.>
What was in the tank before was an emperor angel, 1 Firefish, 2 humbugs, 1 clown, 1 psychedelic, keyhole dwarf angel, and a Longnose butterfly.
The butterfly was getting harassed by the emperor and got the velvet 1st.
Don't know what else I can tell you.
Thanks for the links will check them out.
Regards Peter
<My Pleasure>

Lionfish question... will eat small-enough and not fishes!  -- 03/07/08 Dear crew <Doug> I have had this lionfish for about 6 months. It eats essentially half a cube of Formula One and half a cube of Formula Two per day. Over time, it has gotten a couple of blue green Chromis. <Eventually all...> The other day he got a yellowtail blue devil. The next day he ate, but the day after he did not. Today, he was in the middle of the death throes. <... gut blockage...> Tonight he is just lying still on the bottom of the tank, gasping. Looks like he is near the end. Still full of color. He is about 7 inches, very think. The other fish in the tank are doing very well. Thoughts? Doug <Put the term "Lionfish gut blockage" in the WWM search tool: http://wetwebmedia.com/WWMAdminSubWebIndex/question_page.htm read the cached views... live and hopefully learn. Bob Fenner>

Re: Lionfish (choking on Pomacentrids) question  3/9/08 Bob <Doug> Thanks a lot. You guys are helpful and that seems to be the best answer that I have heard. We also have a missing tiny snail, but it is hard to spot in our 95 gallon tank. <This too could be a source...> We got the lionfish last and frankly he is the showpiece of the tank so it is sad to lose him (or her). If by some miraculous comeback it survives, do you have any recommendations as to how to feed a lionfish while we are on vacation? <Mmm, yes... not to. Unless the specimen is absolutely tiny, or the vacation more than a couple of weeks... Pteroines do fine with fasting this long...> We have been using neighbors twice a day, but that will get old very quick on an upcoming 14 day vacation. Doug <I would place a timer with spectrum pelleted food (conditioning the other fishes so they are familiar) and leave this as that. Bob Fenner>

Dwarf Lionfish Blockage? Help! Too much pizza available... sans bier!  3/1/08 Hi Crew, <Chris> I think I may need a little help here. I have an 8 gallon BioCube that has been set up and running for 8 months or so now. I just added a Fuzzy Dwarf Lionfish to it about 2 weeks ago now. He was a great addition to the tank that just had a Hawkfish in it before. I do frequent water changes so that the bioload doesn't get out of control. Everything was just fine until the other day. He was swimming happily and eating any ghost shrimp or guppy that was within reach. <Mmm, may have been too much> About two days ago I got some ghost shrimp that were a little larger than the ones I had been feeding him. He grabbed the first one and it seemed to get stuck in his throat. He kept trying to spit it out or something and every time he would go for another shrimp, he would grab it and then spit it right back out (because the other one must have been in the way). <Sort of sounds like me and pizza...> Since then he looks like he is having a hard time breathing and is not swimming around anywhere near as much as he was before. Every now and then he will open his mouth really wide and kind of spasm, like he is still trying to get rid of something. I have looked in his mouth when he is near the glass (because it kind of looks like he is gulping for air) and I can't see anything in there now. I got some smaller shrimp today to see if he might want to go for them <... No!> and he didn't even move or look in their direction when I put them in the tank. I am worried about him. I like him and don't want him to die. Is there anything at all I can do, or do I just have to wait it out and hope he doesn't go to the big ocean in the sky? <Yes... and stop overfeeding...> You guys have a great website with lots of information and knowledge so I figured if anyone could help, it would be you. Thanks in advance for your time. Chris <... Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/dwflionfdgfaqs.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Re: Dwarf Lionfish Blockage? Help! Still not reading...  3/1/08 Thanks for the response. Sad news. Literally 15 minutes after I wrote you the first e-mail, I went over to check on my fish and watched him die right in front of me. It was (is) very sad. I was feeding him about three times a week and he was only getting maybe five shrimp each time (that Hawkfish is fast and likes shrimp too!). <Ah, yes> Is this still too much? I am eventually going to get another one (once I bury this one) and I think I will cut down to twice a week feeding, is that more in line? Thanks again for all your help. Chris >///// Read where you were referred to. RMF<

Dwarf Lion Gut Blockage  11/28/2007 Hello there! Just one very quick question here... Is there anything we can do to help w/ a gut blockage? <Possibly> Our dwarf lion has not eaten for almost 2 weeks now and we just purchased some live food (ghost shrimp and rosy reds) <These last... a very poor idea> but he has absolutely no interest in any food we put in front of him. So I'm suspecting from what I've read on here that it is some form of gut blockage that is preventing him from eating. <Possibly> Is this going to be a waiting game to see if he snaps out of it? Or is there some kind of medication that could help? Thanks so much for all your help throughout the years! -Molly <The best thing to do is wait... if the animal has swallowed something large/ish that is not-digestible (shell from a hermit or snail, rock...) even this may not pass... Some folks try Epsom salt... in a dedicated treatment system... such use is mentioned in a few places on WWM. Bob Fenner>

Feeding Dwarf Lionfish 8/3/07 Hey WWM Crew, <Hi Ryan, Pufferpunk here> I have found myself to be slightly paranoid when dealing with the inhabitants of my tank and have held out on asking a question for some time <Not necessarily a bad thing...> but now I would like a little advice. I got my Shortfin fuzzy dwarf a few weeks back and since the first day he has eaten frozen food happily. <That's great!> It has gotten to the point now that when he knows it's food time, he swims to the top of the tank and squirts water at my girlfriend and I until he is well fed. <Cute!> My concern is how much is too much? We give him a little less than a full silverside daily and throw in shrimp/krill occasionally for some change. Your info pages say to feed about twice weekly. He is getting a little pudgy and I'm not sure if his increasingly lazy style is due to comfort or being overfed. The lion is about 4.5" head to tail. <Hmmm... sounds like you've answered your own question. Those info pages are there for a reason--listen to them. There is such a thing as killing them with kindness! ~PP> Thanks for the help

Feeding a dwarf lionfish and thinking of stocking SPS, sys.    8/26/07 Hey guys, First, I just bought a relatively small dwarf lionfish from the LFS and am wondering what would be a good food to use to wean him off of ghost shrimp. <Mmm, "start wiggling" most any smallish meaty bits (frutti di mar package?) on the end of a "feeding stick"...> I bought some fresh shrimp from HEB, the white gulf shrimp, and used a needle to thread some fishing line through a small piece and dangled it in front of the lionfish just after lights-out. He didn't seem remotely interested. <Takes some practice, starving... a modicum of patience> It has been close to a week since he's fed so I thought he'd be hungry enough to take it. Is there something else that he would prefer to eat other than the gulf shrimp? <Maybe not... Perhaps some other live food for a bit... like baby livebearers... still expensive and inconvenient...> Any thoughts or advice would be greatly appreciated. <You have read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/dwflionfdgfaqs.htm and the pertinent linked FAQ file above?> Next, I'm thinking of getting some Acropora but before I did I wanted to some advice first. I have 2 175 watt MH lights over a 75 gallon aquarium. The color temperature is 14000K. Is this good lighting for SPS? <Likely so> I have a 20 gallon refugium/plenum and a protein skimmer all being run with a Mag 9.5 and a have another 300 GPH powerhead going against the flow in the main tank to cause some turbulence. Would this be sufficient? <Maybe, but I'd add to...> My tank parameters are pH 8.1, DKH 12, Calcium 420, with no detectable nitrates, nitrites, phosphates or ammonia.  I add Fiji Gold twice a week and that's all. Also, I have some Asterina stars in my tank and your website seems to think they are fine but GARF.org thinks otherwise stating that they are carnivorous feeding on sessile invertebrates and should be removed immediately. Any thoughts on this? <I would not sweat these small stars> I have noticed the occasional Zoanthid polyp decline, possibly this was the cause. One last thing regarding my sump: I was thinking of removing the filter sponge and instead running the pipe down about an inch or two from the bottom of that chamber in the 20 gallon and filling it up with live rock rubble. This way the water would flow up through the live rock. Would the rubble, combined with a thick layer of Chaeto algae in the refugium section eliminate the need for the mechanical filter sponge? <Try it and see> Also, do I need any chemical filtration such as a carbon bag? <Perhaps periodically... would likely help with water quality, clarity... Again, this is all archived on WWM> I currently have a bag of carbon that the water goes through directly after the sponge and before the refugium. If needed, is that a good spot for it? Whew, I think that's it. Sorry about how long this turned out to be, once I started I just couldn't stop. Thanks a ton you guys! <Be reading. Bob Fenner>

Fu Manchu Lionfish feeding 1/16/07 Hey Crew Member, <'Allo message-writer, Graham T. with you.>   I just bought a Fu Manchu Lionfish about a week and a half ago. He's residing in a 5 gallon mini-bow right now with a whisper 10 filter with a sponge and carbon, 50 watt heater, <Big heater...> a couple of pounds of live rock from my 65 gallon FOWLR, and about 2 1/2 inches of aragonite sand. <I'm surprised at how many people totally skip the info and go right to the questions! Does 5-gallons seem a little too small for a carnivorous envelope-feeder?> I figured I'd set up a smaller tank for him since I've heard that Fu Manchu's can be difficult to get to feed. <Not really... make 'em happy - they eat.> At first he would only eat feeder guppies, but about three days ago I got him to eat frozen plankton by dangling it around on a tooth pick. Yesterday, he ate one plankton, and today, he ate two plankton. <Good.> So, my question is how many plankton and how often should I feed the lion? The plankton are approximately 1 cm long, and the Fu Manchu is about 1 3/4" long. Thanks in advance, Greg <First, since he's eating, I would move him to his permanent home if his QT is up. You will only stress the dude out swapping him when he seems comfy. Once bioload isn't an issue, feed like you have been 1 - 3 plankton, but keep in mind that he needs a variety of meaty foods, and vitamin supplements are a boon. HTH -Graham T.>

Almost dead lionfish... Dwarf, fdg.   1/12/06 Hi.  My lionfish will probably be dead by the time you guys respond, but I'll ask my question anyway.  We bought a zebra lionfish about six weeks ago.  My husband maintains the tank so I don't know any of the water dynamics.  However, he tests it regularly, says it is good.  It is a 55 gal tank w/five other fish and three hermit crabs. <Might be consumed...>   When we bought the fish, the store said to feed it krill, brine shrimp, but not fresh water feeders.   <Good> However, that is all that the fish will eat. <...> We have tried feeding it frozen krill, Formula One, live brine shrimp, and fresh shrimp from the grocery store.  He will eat nothing else. <Needs to be trained to other foods...> We've tried using a feeding wand and soaking the food in a garlic solution from the fish store.  Several days ago, he starting acting unusual.  He was lethargic and swam like one side of his body was slower than the other.  Since then, he isn't eating anything.   Last night he was having a hard time balancing himself.  He would swim, but couldn't control his balance, turning upside down.  He would move toward our air filter system and let the bubbles carried to the top, then float down.   He floats into the living rock, seashells, sea fan, etc.  I thought he would have died last night.  To my surprise he was still alive, and when I got home tonight, he is still kicking.  I've read a lot of your emails, and haven't found anything or anyone else with this type of problem. <All sorts... Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/lionfdgfaqs.htm here: http://wetwebmedia.com/dwflionfdgfaqs.htm and here: http://wetwebmedia.com/goldfshfd.htm and the linked files above> I did try your one reader's suggestion with the fish hook, but I used a sewing needle.   My fish still didn't eat, but the idea worked!  Other than those problems, he looks good, his eyes do not seem to be clouded.  Any thoughts?  Thank you, Denise <Patience... these fishes will very rarely stop feeding to the point of starvation... Bob Fenner>

Re: Almost dead lionfish... Dwarf, fdg. -- a follow-up  1/12/06   1/20/07 Hi again.  I just wanted to thank you for your responses.  Unfortunately, my zebra lionfish died later in the day that I emailed you last time.   <I'm very sorry for your loss, Denise.> I would have been shocked if he made it through whatever illness he got.  Think we are going to stick with creatures that eat pellets, or frozen fish products. <You are likely wise here. Making maintenance chores for yourself that you're not prepared for can be overwhelming, and these fishes do require some TLC to get feeding sometimes.>   Anyway, again, I just wanted to thank you for your help.  Denise <Thank you for the follow-up, Denise. Again, I'm very sorry for your loss. I'm sure you did everything in your power, my friend. -JustinN>

I'm not dead yet - lionfish   1/16/07 Hi.  Thank you for emailing me so quickly.  I wasn't sure if I would get a response or not.  Last time I told you about sick zebra lionfish.  I was having trouble feeding him anything other than guppies.  However, one of your viewers suggested "going fishing", and my lionfish has now eaten twice off the "hook".  Unfortunately he is still sick.  He doesn't have control over his body movement. <Patience>   The current in the tank has floated him into living rock, a sea fan and coral. <Place elsewhere>   He was floating upside down, my husband thought he was dead, but to our amazement is still hanging on.  He  was floating on his back for several days so I moved him to a holding tank. <Ah, good>   Now he rests on his side.  However, he is still eating. <Can go w/o for weeks...>   This morning, I fed him another guppy, then followed with a small piece of uncooked shrimp.  He ate both, but the food had to be right in front of his mouth to get it.  Is it possible he had a stroke? <Interesting possibility>   He has been like this for over two weeks.  I though he would have died a long time ago, but he truly amazes me.  I think I'm going to call him "Timex"  Thank you again, Denise <Where is that Cameron Swayze when you need him? Excelsior! Bob Fenner>

Finicky Dwarf Lion  12/13/06 Greetings Crew - I've seen similar posts in your FAQs but as nothing appears to be helping I thought I would try my own situation as a last resort - purchased a dwarf fuzzy lion recently - 125 gallon - 5 tankmates (Goldentail Moray, Purple Tang, Niger Trigger, Annularis Angel, Saddlebacked Puffer). <These last three are too-likely to cause a Dwarf Lion woe... harassing, picking on it... at least eating most all foods to its exclusion> I read all your materials about what not to feed and how often to feed a lion and so I set upon my task of marine husbandry and things went extremely well for a short period of time - he ate thawed frozen food (silverside pieces, krill, shrimp pieces, mussels etc.) I would only intentionally feed the lion every 2-3 days but as he became more bold he would hang out for the daily feeding of some of his brethren and he would grab something if it floated by.  Lately he has appeared to go on a feeding strike of sorts, slowly deselecting virtually all foodstuffs - he turns away from shrimp and squid  - he will grab a piece of silverside or a little krill but then he goes into this (what would be comical looking if it were normal behavior) regurgitation dance and then pretty much always eventually spits it out - sometimes after 60 or 90 seconds of wrestling with it. <Could be some sort of gut blockage here...> The only other things I can tell you are: - he actually still swims well - hangs out near the bottom if the tank lights are on - more active when off - often swimming up near the top and hanging around upside down - have never observed any of his neighbors harassing him at all - <Good> which I initially worried about - but they all seem to have read Bob's chapter on lions and envenomation <Heeeee!> - no other tank mate is acting differently - all have normal appetites - the Eel, Tang, Trigger and Angelfish are all longtime residents - approaching 4 years for all - pretty simple set-up - lots of live rock, EuroReef skimmer, self-owned RO/DI unit, water changes every 7-10 days - I do not have easy access to ghost shrimp or other potentially economical live food stuff - which would likely get scarfed up by the marine garbage disposals I have the lion housed with anyway Could he somehow be trying to snack on the invertebrates that have managed to survive? <Yes, possible>   There aren't that many in the tank - cleaning takes place by the five-fingered fish - Or could he have damaged himself taking a hermit or snail in shell and all? <Another possibility, source of blockage, yes> Any thoughts would be very much appreciated <If the hunger strike has only been a week or two in duration, I would not be concerned here... Nor even longer if the fish appears to be "full" (have a good index of fitness)... Chances are very good here, given your relation of good behavior with tankmates, your set-up, maintenance routine, that this fish will resume feeding. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Dwarf fuzzy lion hunger strike  - 11/02/06 Hi, Crew. <Dan> I have a dwarf fuzzy lionfish, about 3-4" long, that has decided to go on a prolonged (several-week) hunger strike.  I know from the FAQs that this is not uncommon, but the little guy is getting really skinny and lethargic, and we don't want to lose him. <Understood> Background: Tank is 120 gal FOWLR with about 200 lbs live sand (w/plenum) and perhaps 50 lbs of live rock.  We have a small refugium, a Euro-Reef skimmer, a 1250 gal/hr pump, and a "micron bag" for mechanical filtration.  Water parameters are all excellent (ammonia, nitrite zero; nitrate < 1; pH ~8.2; PO4 < 0.2).  Inhabitants include a purple tang, diamond sleeper goby, the lion, a small Toby, a long-nosed Hawkfish, a Christmas wrasse, and a few damsels. <Mmmm...> The lion used to come to the top of the tank and "beg" for food.  We rotated through several foodstuffs, including silversides, krill, Mysis, squid, and shrimp, feeding maybe three times per week.  Now, none of these work, even offered on a gently-wiggled feeding stick.  At the suggestion of the FAQs and the LFS, we tried live ghost shrimp.  One literally walked in front of, and then onto, the lion's nose.  Nothing, nada.   There has been no signs of harassment.  Everyone gets along reasonably well (the tang is the "queen" of the tank, everyone stays out of her way).  There is no evidence of fin-nipping by the Toby, which was originally a concern. Any ideas?  We've grown very fond of our little lion and it's heartbreaking to see this fat happy fish wasting away. <I would move this Lionfish to a smaller setting just the same... for "change of scenery", social dynamic... and try some live "ghost shrimp" here> Many thanks, Dan <Bob Fenner>

Hey Guys - Lionfish Q, dwarf, small Lion feeding   10/2/06 Yeah yeah... I know I'm part of the crew, but I've got a question I can't seem to find a really decisive answer for. Thanks to WWM - I got a job as an aquarist expert at one of our local (or semi-local, as it may be) LFS.  When I started there last week, they had just got a very small dwarf lionfish in.  I'm talking about 1.5 inches small - and were trying to feed him flake food! <...>   Hello... not good.  But I can't seem to prompt him to eat - nothing, not a fish slurry, not live brine shrimp - not frozen anything!  Any ideas of what I can try that would be more successful? <Ghost shrimp... can/will live in marine settings for a good long while... and are palatable... and baby livebearers if you have them (look in the "feeder guppy" tank if they have such... Acclimate over a day or two to more saline conditions...> Or possibly a way to condition him to the food available? <Not likely in a/the short (enough) term> Thanks so much everyone! Jen S. PS - tis why I've been absent answering questions the past few weeks... once a get a handle on everything I'll be back. Plus I've already handed out WWM website to everyone wanting to know more than comes on in! <Real good. BobF>

Re: Dwarf Lion diet and angelfish bad behavior   8/14/06 Hi Bob and crew, <Hosh> Thank you for your reply.  It is most helpful. <Ah, good> I have moved on trying to find the missing maroon clowns as I can obviously see that the fizzy dwarf lionfish is getting fat and happy.   <... expensive meals> Besides his obvious flaws in social skills, he is still my favorite fish as he follows me all around whenever I approach the tank.  He is definitely a puppy of the sea.  He is out playing all the time even though (as you have suggested) most others of his kind are inclined to hide.  This fish is unique if not special in some ways and I feel very lucky to have him around. <Very good> I want to give a follow up on his cloudy eyes condition.  As I have read though your posts about how it is better to feed saltwater fish with natural ocean foods, I went out shopping.  I picked up some (raw) frozen bay scallops, market shrimps, whole squids and fresh saltwater fish fillets to feed him along with the larger fish in the tank on the selection of ground up meats over the next few days.  His eye trouble clears up in a matter of days with no water change.  He is looking much better then when I first got him from the LFS and every fish that ate the real ocean seafood seems to be much happier including the anemones.  I toast <Heee... tossed> out the LFS's krill and silversides the next week as I feel that they are what have been causing the nutritional deficiency.  The only thing I am feeding the fish now are brine shrimps and bloodworms as snacks for the smaller fish on top of the real seafood. Moreover, I can't believe how much cheaper real seafood is in comparison to processed fish foods. <Yes> What I paid for a small bag of processed krill is enough to buy a whole pound of bay scallops or raw shrimps.  I guess the marketing folks have gotten into my head over the years that processed foods specifically designed for whatever animal is the best choice. <Well put> Now I can actually see the result for myself in just 1 week how saltwater fish can benefit from raw food from the sea.  Frankly, I'll never go back to processed foods again.  I also visited the Chicago Aquarium the other day and saw a couple of small pieces of raw scallops caught between the life rocks in one of the community tanks.  I knew right then that I am definitely on the right track.  Even the clown sweet lips (Plectorhinchus chaetodonoides) seem to be during well under this diet.  Ok, it was an impulse buy as he is so cute. <Not easily kept though...> Of course, there is always trouble in the making that requires your expert advise.  The bi-color angel turns out to be the devil after all.  It has been nice for over a month as a newbie, but now he is attacking the dwarf lion and the baby sweet lips for no particular reason except to have a piece of their fins down to the spine.  What is most aggravating is that he is very much well fed everyday.  I've scared the angel fish around in trying to tamed his temperament with no luck.  I also put a tank divider in the tank and he resumed his bad behavior after the divider was removed in a few days. <Mmm, have to be permanently separated>   Nothing seems to work out.  A few days ago as I was headed out to vacation, I dropped him off to the LFS before I leave to put him in (fish jail) isolation.  My goal is to introduce him back into the main tank as a new fish without his bad attitude.  We'll see how that turns out.  What is your opinion on this? <Likely have to be left out permanently> The next thing I am thinking of is to introduce a flame angel (which I've always wanted) into the mist and thereby keeping the bi-colored angel in check   Do you think this is a fair move? <Worth trying> Frankly, I have been so frustrated with the bi-angel that I basically took the whole tank apart just to get him out.  Without having resulted to anyone being flushed down the toilet, do you have any suggestion in behavioral modification for a mean spirited problem child that is no angel? -Hosh <A much bigger tank... another tank, tankmates... Bob Fenner>

Zebra Lion Fdg. Question ?? - 8/10/2006 WWW Crew, I just recently purchased a Dendrochirus zebra, my first lion fish. <A beautiful animal> He seems at home among the live rock'¦. swimming around, hanging in caves, being responsive to me'¦ defensive toward the Blue-Headed Wrasse, a Tomato Clown and a Damsel. <May eat these last in time...> His color has become more vibrant since he was introduced 4 days ago and he seems healthy. Of course, my question concerns feeding. He did eat some ghost shrimp a couple of days ago but nothing else. <Dwarf Lions don't eat that much, often...> I've offered various frozen marine fare as well as dried foods. Should I keep feeding him live foods until he eats the frozen and, should I worry if he doesn't eat anything for a few more days? <The latter> Will he literally starve himself waiting on live foods? <Mmm, not likely> Marine flesh on a feeding stick seems to repulse him as he just turns away. <Takes time, practice...> Also, let Bob F. know that I emailed. I haven't spoken with him in quite some time and would like to catch up. My email address is below. Thanks much! Regards, from David A. Bell <Oh! Hi David! Hope/trust all is well with you and yours. Bob Fenner>

New dwarf zebra (Lion).......will he start eating?   4/30/06 My tanks, a moderately stocked  65 gallon (reef) & a 55 gallon (predator) w/ a 40 gallon sump feeding both tanks. Large protein skimmer, excellent water parameters. <Excellent> Reef tank set up for about 4 years now. System has 125 pounds live rock w/ 50-60 pd.s of live sand between the two tanks. Large copepod/amphipod population w/ macro algae. 55 gal predator tank newly setup about 3 weeks ago. I started with a very small 1" Picasso Humu trigger who is happy and doing well and who does not bother my newly acquired lion at all. (Yes, I realize that eventually the Humu will outgrow a 55 or maybe be incompatible w/ the lion long-term) Plans are only to have 2 fish in this tank (maybe 3, until an upgrade.)      My time in the SW hobby I have been strictly a reef guy. This is my first lionfish (dwarf zebra) & 2nd attempt at a predator tank so I am still learning as I go in this area. I did as much research as possible beforehand reg. Lions but there are so many opinions out there as is the norm with anything in this hobby. He is about 2" and appears to be healthy. I have had him for 5 days now. For the most part he just sits perched on the live rock which I know is normal. When I was redoing my spray bar on the 2nd day as I thought the circulation was too forceful for him, and moving the live rock around he was swimming all over the tank and active. On the 2nd day I initially tried frozen krill & silversides on a clear feeder rod which he ignored, & eventually swam somewhere else as I don't believe he liked me bothering him. On day 4 I tried those again with no luck. So on day 5 I tried live brackish mollies which I acclimated to 1/2  SW salinity in a small holder tank. They swam right past his mouth multiple times with no response.    However, my 2 tanks are side by side. In the reef I have a mated pair of percula clowns w/ a long tentacled Anemone. When he sees the smaller clown or one of my small damsels or other smaller fish through the side of the tank he shoots over to that side and gets real excited. Obviously a feeding response? <Maybe> Are they attracted to brighter color fish?, as the mollies are black & the clowns & damsels bright?    <Perhaps>    Any suggestions on what I should do to initiate an initial feeding? <Posted...> I realize that it may just take some more time for him to acclimate and I am getting impatient, but I don't want to reach the point where I'm going on 2/3 weeks with no eating. I was going to try the mollies again or perhaps buy a small bright colored damsel and go from there. No access to SW feeder shrimp, only FW ghost shrimp which I don't really want to use (bad experiences the last time I tried a pred tank w/ disease transmission & outbreak). Should I try a  peppermint or camelback shrimp (cheaper) as I know their primary food source is shrimp or soft shell crab? <I wouldn't> Money has never been an issue with me from day one, only the health & care of the animals. Whatever it takes to get this guy eating although I am hoping it is just time.       Sorry for the lengthy email, and thanks for the chance to pick your brains for some much needed info.      A caring hobbyist,                                      Matt H. <Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/dwflionfdgfaqs.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Salt mix and dwarf lion diet  - 01/24/06 Hello WWM Crew,
<Hi Brent> First let me start by saying that I strongly support what you are doing and that you are appreciated.
<Thank you.>
 I have a question regarding synthetic salt mixes. I have read though many of the FAQ's to try and determine who ranks where in actually quality of synthetic mixes. Obviously all of them claim to be the best and that they are the closest to real seawater.  From what I have read on the site Tropic Marin Pro Reef Salt seems to be a hit. I am a fan of Seachem products and I am very curious about the salt mixes. Every time I try to Google an answer all I get is articles about other Seachem products.  Where would an amateur like my self be able to find a ranking of the top synthetic mixes?
<Sometime ago a test was carried out among different brands of sea salt.  Here is a link to the results.  http://www.advancedaquarist.com/2005/11/aafeature1/view?searchterm=A list including the previous mentioned brands.
<There are several good brands out there.  I use Instant Ocean Reef Crystals.  I feel it is a good salt mix for the price.  I also had a question about my dwarf lionfish. I have had him about 3 months now. I had no problems getting him to eat frozen krill. He even begs for it and eats it out of my hand. He is not really interested in chopped scallop, clam, etc..  I feel bad if I do not provide him with a varied diet. Will adding Zoe or Selcon to his krill suffice or do I need to provide other foods regardless of him not wanting it?  
<I'd soak the krill in Selcon and offer other foods from time to time and see if he changes his mind.  I'm sure he will be fine with the krill/Selcon combo.  Do search our site, keyword "lionfish" for more info.>
Sorry to hit you with two questions at once. I do appreciate your taking the time to help me.
<You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> Thank you, Brent

New Dwarf Lion - 12/14/2005 I have a Dwarf Lion in a 50g tank with a Clown, Dwarf Angel, Toby and two Damsels had to get rid of 1 and may get rid of the other two if they continue the spawn of Satan route). I have had the Dwarf Lion for a week and he has not eaten. <Good ol' feeding strike.> I have tried frozen shrimp, dried shrimp and silversides.  He went for a silverside once, but spit it out. <Probably thought it was "alive and kicking" at first.> Today I noticed him in position to take out a crab, so I got a plastic rod and moved the crab. That upset the lion and he flapped his body. <Seems he at least wants to feed (a good thing).> When he did that I saw see through material billow off of him and I could see it floating in the water. Is that normal, what is that material? <Probably just the typical skin shedding and no worry. If possible just try to remove this stuff and keep an eye on him. The Lion seems to want food, it's just a matter of training him to except prepared rather than live. Keep trying with the prepared but don't let him starve. You may just have to offer some live shrimp or crabs to keep him fed during the process. Not to often or he'll continue to hold out until you give him what he's looking for.> Thanks David <You're welcome. - Josh>

Nutritional Considerations  11/30/05 Hi Guys: After six months, I finally got my Dwarf Zebra Lion to eat non-living food! He was on a diet primarily of live ghost shrimp gut loaded with frozen marine foods. I fed him between one and two shrimp every other day. He is really beautiful and in great health. Now the bad news. The food he is now eating is Hikari freeze dried krill. Considering Hikari's reputation for purity and vitamin loaded food, I thought I was just fine. Then I read one of your posts that stated that predators on a diet of krill can lose their eyesight due to a missing nutrient. Is that the case with the vitamin loaded krill as well? Can I add anything to it to compensate such as Zoe and Selcon? This is really disappointing considering how long it to me to wean him off of the live food. Your help is certainly appreciated. Regards, Rob >>>Hello Rob, There is no SINGLE, NON-WHOLE food item that you can feed any predatory fish that will fulfill all of its nutritional requirements. Consider this, when a lionfish eats a small fish, it's not only getting meat, but blood, bone, organ tissue, etc. Keepers of reptiles and certain birds also run into this issue when feeding their charges. Soaking dried krill in a vitamin solution will not account for these missing items totally. You MAY be OK soaking the krill as you are doing, but long years of experience tell me this is wishful thinking. My advice is to keep soaking the krill, but begin conditioning the lion fish to accept other food items such as frozen silversides, whole fresh shrimp, etc. Best of luck.  Jim<<< 

Dwarf Lionfish, feeding  9/28/05 Hi, I just acquired a Dwarf Lionfish and I have read all the content posted on the site before I wrote this question. The question is that can I feed the fish with prawns and if yes can I feed them whole that is without removing the shell etc because that is what I read on Anthony Calfo and Robert Fenner's page and I quote them "......raw and whole cocktail shrimp (as in, shell-on and not gutted, but cut in pieces if necessary)" Thank you. Regards Rajeev Menon <Yes to leaving whole if small enough... let's say half the diameter of the Lion's mouth. Otherwise, the exoskeletons may prove to be too much to digest, pass. Bob Fenner>

Goin' On A Hunger Strike - 08/11/2005 I have a 150 gallon marine tank.  My dwarf lion (D. zebra) has not eaten in a month (frozen krill).   <Disturbing....> Have tried many ghost shrimp, crab, shrimp, etc. to no avail.  My 8" snowflake eel seemed to be having trouble eating also and recently died.   <A major concern....> He did not seem thin and actually seemed swollen.   <An excellent clue....> My 5" porcupine puffer quit eating for 3 days but now is eating fine. frozen krill).  My powder blue tang and other herbivores seem to be unaffected.  No change in appetite or behavior.  The lion appears to try to suck in the food but cannot.  My water quality seems good.   <Seeming good is not enough info....  Be certain ammonia and nitrite are ZERO, pH 8.3, salinity 1.021-1.024....> But my nitrates are high.   <Also of concern.  How high?  Above 20ppm can be an issue.> I have done additional water changes (more than normal), I run a UV sterilizer, protein skimmer and do regular filter changes.   <Try to find the source of your nitrates....  I would be concerned that the tank may be overstocked if you cannot keep nitrate down with reasonable water changes.> No fish in the tank have bad fins, color or any abnormalities.  And there have been no recent illnesses or fish additions.  I would appreciate any suggestions. <My first guess is purely environmental issues.  Get more water changes done, pronto, if anything is mildly amiss there.  Try feeding foods soaked in garlic extract to stimulate an appetite.  If still unsuccessful, you might want to consider the possibility of internal parasites....  the swollen eel, after having not eaten, may be an indicator, here.  Are any of the fish excreting long, clear-ish strands of poo?  You might consider offering a food medicated with Metronidazole or Praziquantel, or treat these fish in a quarantine tank with either of those in the water.> Thanks. <Wishing you well,  -Sabrina>

- Dwarf Lion Questions - I have fuzzy dwarf lionfish who shows no interest in any food except Mysis shrimp, brine shrimp, and ghost shrimp. <Ghost shrimp and Mysis shrimp are fine - nothing to worry about here.>  I have tried krill, goldfish, saltwater guppies and Tubifex worms but has shown no interest in them.  <Would keep up with the krill but would not offer "feeder" fish - these will affect the long term survivability of your lionfish. As for the Tubifex worms - these are not marine in origin and I've seen very few marine fish, let alone lionfish that will eat them.>  Well do you recommend all my levels are all where they should be.  <Think you're doing fine - you might want to offer the krill on the end of a feeding stick - waggle in front of its face... but the Mysis and ghost shrimp are certainly suitable foods.> My fuzzy also turns a creamy color every once in a while, is this rare or a problem? <This is neither rare nor a problem. Cheers, J -- > 

Feeding a Dwarf Lionfish First of all, your book is our bible. We don't go fish shopping without it and has served us very well.  <Very glad to hear/read.> Now for the problem. I just bought a dwarf lion and admit that this was an impulse buy, I did not see him eat in the store. Now, I have him home and he is moving around from rock to rock, hanging upside down on things, generally looks ok, but, he is not eating. I have tried all of the following to know avail (freeze dried brine shrimp, frozen brine shrimp, frozen little fish, live little fish, freeze dried krill). I have dangled things in front of him, squirted things in front of him, placed things in front of him. I can't bear to lose the cute little guy, what can I do? <If you've only placed the fish within the week, don't over-worry... Lionfishes often don't eat when disturbed/moved. If it doesn't start to take food after the week, I might try some live food... Brine shrimp, mysids if the animal is small... "feeder" guppies... and then train it onto un-live fare from there. Bob Fenner>

Hunger Strike Hey Guys! <cheers!> Just to start.. I'd like to say this is a great website and has awesome features like this one.  Question: I have a 125 gallon. In it is a Fuzzy Dwarf Lion, Tiny Niger Trigger, and various damsels. Recently, the lion went on a "hunger strike". It started Wednesday night. He didn't eat anything. Thursday, all he had was a little prawn head, Friday he didn't eat, and Saturday he had a small prawn head. What is that all about? I even tied a prawn to a piece of rope. He didn't even look at it. Think its just a phase? <indeed they can go quite a while without food (several weeks), but it is not acceptable of course. Depends on age in captivity, recent changes to water quality, previous diet. Do verify water quality and use live ghost shrimp if necessary to entice>

Fuzzy dwarf lionfish Hello,
<Hey Jon, Phil here!> I have read your FAQs and got a lot of great info. I have two fuzzy dwarf lions that love to eat M.Y.S.I.S  shrimp. They are very high protein frozen food. have you heard of them?
<Oh ya.. I feed them to my fish.> Is this enough for my fish to thrive. They don't seem interested in anything else.
< Try silversides, I have yet to find a lionfish that won't eat silverside strips.> Thank you
<No problem!!> Jon Kerr

Teeny Tiny Lion 06/16/03 Hey guys! <Just guy, PF here with you today> I just bought a tiny (1 1/4" at the most) Fuzzy Dwarf Lion.  I was wondering what the best foodstuffs to start him on would be.  and what options do I have if this little guy doesn't eat prepared foods? I checked FAQ and there was little info on this small of lion. <Well JB, have you read here? http://www.wetwebmedia.com/lions&rels.htm You could start him on small feeder guppies if he's reluctant to eat something much better, such as Mysis shrimp.> Thanks JB Tank info 30 gal hex ECCO Canister 12 lbs Live rock 2 Green Chromis Fuzzy Dwarf

- Dwarf Lion on a Hunger Strike - HI
<And hello to you, JasonC here...>
 I'll keep it short I'm sure you guys get a lot of questions. My son's Fussy Dwarf Lion is sitting on the bottom and has stopped eating for about three days. He was eating brine shrimp, I tried krill but he wouldn't take any. He seemed to want the brine shrimp while it was still in a chunk floating down the tank. The tank is a 35 gallon and there is just the Lion and a orange tail damsel in it. We have had trouble with high nitrates from the start, but it seemed the fish had adjusted to it. I did a 10 gallon water change this morning and the nitrates have dropped. The Damsel is active and eating fine. Overall the Lion seems more lethargic than normal and off course is not eating. Can I try something else, different food, raise the salinity etc.? <I think you are on the right track with the krill, or really any meaty seafood - in fact anything but brine shrimp or live feeders is recommended for these fish. Best way to offer these foods is on a 'feeding stick' and waggle the food item around in front of their face. Works even better once they're hungry. It's not uncommon at all for a lion to stop eating for a little while. Here's some additional reading for you: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/lions&rels.htm and that get's you in the reading mood, read all the FAQs attached to that article. Much useful information there.> Thank you for your time     George Hill <Cheers, J -- >

Lion Practices Non-Violent Disobedience? Hello! <Hi! Ryan Bowen with you> I've read all the emails asking about training a Fuzzy Dwarf Lion to eat frozen, but none of them really say what to do if he still refuses to eat. I bought a baby (about 2") Fuzzy Dwarf 10 days ago and I've not seen him eat anything. He won't eat the brine or the Mysis shrimp, and refused my offerings of silversides and krill. I wiggle them in front of him and he turns away. He is starting to lose color and I'm worried! He seems healthy otherwise and the LFS claims he was eating frozen silversides. He shows some interest in the hermits but not in the food. <I would get some live brine shrimp, soak them in a little Selcon.  It's better than nothing, and you've got to get something in him quickly.  If not, even a few feeder guppies may work, but are not ideal.  Are there other fish in the tank that eat what is on his menu?  It may help.  Chopped clams are a good food to get picky eaters eating.>     I also have a Banded Eel that is a real piggy. He even ate the first day in his new home! How often should I feed him and how much?? He is about 7" long, is it possible he ate my 1" yellow tail damsel that recently vanished?? <Not possible, certain.  You can feed him twice a week or so, and vary his diet as much as possible.>    Thanks so much for your help! Your site is amazing! <Thank you for being a part of it.  Good luck, Ryan>    Dayna

Update on non-eating Fuzzy Dwarf Well he's eating now, Mysis and brine shrimp. He swallowed a good sized chunk of krill yesterday but spit it out a few minutes later so I guess he didn't like it. He won't touch silversides which is odd. Apparently the reason he hadn't been eating is that he was living off the three damsels I had cycled the tank with!<that's good to hear> They each disappeared a day or two apart, but I thought my Banded Eel, Bronson, had eaten them. Now I am sure Fluffy was the culprit., ya> I knew they would be Fluffy food later on, thought he was too small to eat them yet. Live and learn! He hasn't touched the Pajama Cardinal and left my Saddleback Toby alone, but the Toby died suddenly Sunday night. :( It was very sad and for no apparent reason. He was fine, swimming around and eating well and 20 minutes later I looked in and he was dead.
<that is horrible :(>    I am considering getting a Scooter Blenny, will Fluffy eat him too? Or Bronson? Or should I get another Toby??<I would purchase fish that are larger than your lionfish is...because eventually your lionfish will prey upon these small fish, IanB> Dayna

Reef Lionfish Questions <Hi, MikeD here> I have two quick questions for the fantastic crew at WWM today :)<wow! Gee thanks!> I recently purchased a new juvenile dwarf fuzzy lion he is only about 2 inches in length and has been in my tank for about a week now...The first night he was there he had no problem eating an already resident peppermint shrimp, however he has not eaten anything since. There is one other live peppermint in there but he is yet to catch it, I tried feeding him frozen silversides on a string but they seemed too big for him, broke them up and he wasn't interested. What are my other options here for feeding him and what can I use as a feeder stick or something since I think he is scared almost of the string ?<This is a rather common occurrence as Dwarf Fuzzy Lions in the wild are highly specialized crustacean predators with stomach analysis showing an extremely high preference for small shrimp and crabs. The small ghost shrimp offered as feeders in many LFS will work as a first food initially and from there it's often a process of gradually switching them over to frozen krill. Those dropped into the water in front of the return current often "shoot" fast enough to trigger a feeding response. Feeding sticks and such CAN be tricky with these as they are very shy and cautious. I've had some success using household sewing thread and a small/fine needle, impaling the food and dangling it in front of the lionfish. You're also correct about the silversides being too large for a juvenile dwarf Fuzzy....many people cut lengthwise through the head so as to end up with a 1/2" piece containing the eyes initially> Also I was wondering what corals and such dwarf fuzzy's would be encountering in the wild? I have 192 watts of PC lighting over my reef tank currently only a frogspawn and daisy polyps in there with him, both are frags and very small...I wanted to recreate a natural habitat for him as he gets this reef all to himself. I have searched around for the natural environment for these types of lions but am yet to find much info...where can I find this or what corals would be found in his natural surroundings?<This is another tricky area and a good caution as well. Make sure he has somewhere to hide out of the lights, such as a cave or two.  The Lionfish are largely nocturnal and MH lighting is suspected in cases of blindness.  The only way to get an approximation on corals is to check the range  and depth preference of Fuzzy Dwarfs, then try to find books that list natural origins for coral species. Dive sites are often excellent sources for this type of information> Thanks much James

Feeding Dwarf Fuzzy Lionfish: How much & How often Hello Crew, <Greg>   I just bought a great looking Fuzzy Dwarf Lionfish named Fozzy two days ago. On the second day, I purchased six live Ghost Shrimp, Frozen Silversides, and frozen Mysis Shrimp. I'm, also, planning on buying some frozen Krill if Lionfish like them. I fed Fozzy 5 of the live Ghost Shrimp, which he ate very quickly. He, also, reluctantly took 2 small frozen Mysids soaked in garlic. Was this too much food in one day? <Yes, likely> Anyways, I'm not too sure on how much to give Fozzy in one feeding, and how many times a week I should feed him. He is in a 70 gallon FOWLR with a Coral Beauty Angelfish and a Cinnamon Clownfish. The water is usually between 80-84 degrees F.     Thanks a lot crew,  Greg <I would feed this specimen every other day... and look to its "fullness" as the best indication of how much it should be getting. Take care not to "feed it till it busts", looks bulging... as MANY more lionfish and their kin are killed from too much food than any other cause. Your selection of foodstuffs sounds very good. Bob Fenner>

Feeding a dwarf lion Hi guys:   Thanks for the advice, I have made a number of good friends at the LFS and based on the size of some of the Clowns I've seen in their tanks (as big as Shaq's hand!) I'm assuming I will have to upgrade the 36 again in the future.  With that said, knowing my interest in adding a lion, the owner of the shop got me a truly incredible yellow dwarf lion.  He is a beauty! However, based on your advice, I expressed my concern to him about adding him to my tank.  The workers at the store being familiar with my tank and my clown thought he would work well in my set-up.  Of course, there was an mutual understanding that I would "immediately" return the lion if the clown began to show any aggression.  The good news is, the lion has been in the tank for a couple of weeks now and neither the clown or the hawk could care less.  Indeed, he seems to have adapted perfectly.   So, what's the problem? Well actually there isn't one yet, just a quick question.  I've poured over your FAQs and have learned a great deal about feeding lions.  In particular you always seem to say that starting out with ghost shrimp is fine, but that you should wean them frozen food as soon as possible.  Living in Florida, I have pretty good access ghost shrimp.  Would a constant diet of ghost shrimp supplemented with small live bait shrimp or peppermint shrimp have long-term detrimental effects on the lion?  In other words, if I can maintain a steady diet of live foods, is there any real reason to shift to frozen?  Thanks in advance for your advise.  You guys are great! Gary     >>>Hey Gary, You will be fine, but VARY the diet as much as possible. Also, freeze the live food for a time before giving to your fish. Parasite introduction is a danger otherwise. So, one way or the other, you need to stick with frozen items, whether you purchase them that way, or catch them yourself then freeze after. Jim<<<

Dwarf zebra lion Hi,  <<And hello to you.>> First off, your site is an outstanding source or information. Keep up the great work.   <<Will do.>>  Now for my problem. I bought a dwarf zebra lion about a week ago. He's not going after the prawn I try to feed him. I've tried using a feeding stick and shaking it in front of him. I know that lions can take a couple of days to eat, but here's the odd part. Yesterday, I added a "tank cleaner" kit. He shows interest in the scarlet hermit crabs and tries to eat them when they poke out of their shell. He's only about 2 inches big, so is it possible that he hasn't been trained to eat non-living food yet?  <<That is a possibility, but I get the sense that you are not quarantining this fish... which would be a mistake. Quarantine gives you the chance to try a number of feeding tricks without the social pressures of other tankmates. Put yourself in the fish's fins... if you had just come in from the ocean via a traumatic capture and shipping process, what would you think about having a prawn on a stick shaken in your face?>>   I also have a Volitans who eats like a savage.   <<And if I were living with this fish, I'd be nervous... I'd really consider quarantining your dwarf lion, give it a chance to get it together away from this fella.>>  I've read that I should feed him 3-4 times per week, but how many prawn should I give him in one sitting?  <<Depending on the size of the prawn, one or two... perhaps three if they are small.>>   Also, same question about a snowflake moray eel. how much prawn per sitting.  <<Same answer.>>  I have a 55 gallon with a protein skimmer, canister filter, and extra air stone. all of my levels are fine (Ammonia=0, Nitrate=0, Nitrate=5)..so I doubt quality is the problem. Sorry about so many question...but I figured better to get them all out now than to keep writing back...thanks...Jim <<Cheers, J -- >>

HI bob! Lionfish troubles.. Well, I picked up a lovely Dwarf Lionfish yesterday, he's roughly 3 inches in length. Pretty small one, he's not accepting to eat silversides, now.. is it too early to even try to feed him anything? <Yes, give the specimen some time (days) to settle in... it won't starve to death> Or should he be eating this soon and there's something wrong. I'd appreciate the advise on how long it should take until it accepts anything to eat. BTW I love your website, its great! <Thank you. Patience my friend. Bob Fenner>

HI bob! Lionfish troubles.. Sorry I'm being such a problem about the subject.. but I know you're a professional, my pet shop doesn't seem to be too "Educated" about the lionfish. I was told a fish of my size, roughly 3 inches is a good size to perhaps eat brine shrimp. Would those be a good supplement for the baby lion? <Sure, worth trying. Bob Fenner>

Feeding a Dwarf Lionfish First of all, your book is our bible. We don't go fish shopping without it and has served us very well.  <Very glad to hear/read.> Now for the problem. I just bought a dwarf lion and admit that this was an impulse buy, I did not see him eat in the store. Now, I have him home and he is moving around from rock to rock, hanging upside down on things, generally looks ok, but, he is not eating. I have tried all of the following to know avail (freeze dried brine shrimp, frozen brine shrimp, frozen little fish, live little fish, freeze dried krill). I have dangled things in front of him, squirted things in front of him, placed things in front of him. I can't bear to lose the cute little guy, what can I do? <If you've only placed the fish within the week, don't over-worry... Lionfishes often don't eat when disturbed/moved. If it doesn't start to take food after the week, I might try some live food... Brine shrimp, mysids if the animal is small... "feeder" guppies... and then train it onto un-live fare from there. Bob Fenner>

Dwarf Lion I have a Dwarf Lion (Zebra) that will eat only real fish. I put piece of fish on a feeding prong and he pulls away from it. Are there any secrets to training him to eat other than cheap feeder goldfish? Thanks. <<Mainly what you're doing and plenty of patience... Don't over-worry re this animal starving... they can/do go on hunger strikes even w/o these efforts for a few weeks duration at times... Keep wiggling those food items in front of it, and not live foods. Bob Fenner>>

A Dwarf Lion And A Full Plate G'morning, <Good morning, MikeD here> I had a pair (supposedly matched m/f) of Dendrochirus zebra in a 125g, and they got along wonderfully for over a year<OK>, but 3 weeks ago, the one I presumed to be the male just up and died. He was @4" long, well rounded, no scars or marks (no one bothered him!), and I can find no particular cause of death.<Many possibilities here, including old age as all Lionfish are wild caught> Everyone else in the tank (1 pr mand. gobies [reg.  breeders]; 1 pr cardinals [constant breeders]; 3 giant long tent anemones [semi-annual breeders]; 1 each yellow goby, Sailfin blenny, maroon clown [5"!], 4 seahorses [all females], plus an even half-dozen polyps & Goniopora, and untold numbers of starfishes and crabs) are all doing swimmingly fine! No fatalities for almost two years, until this lionfish incident.<That sounds like a full load, but if they are doing well, don't fix it> This particular tank is just over 6 years old, with a 2-3" live sand bottom, bioball filtration and UV sterilizer. Stopped using the red sea protein skimmer @4 years ago and my life--and that of the tank residents--has been much happier: the water chemistry is much more stable without it.<This sometimes happens if the skimmer wasn't properly maintained/adjusted and the keeper keeps up water changes> Everyone eats live brine shrimp and live FW guppies<Here's problem #1 as freshwater guppies are NOT suitable long term food for lionfish and will result in vitamin deficiencies and fatty build ups> 5 days out of 7. When I have babies in nursery (almost constantly, one variety or another), they get frozen baby brine shrimp plus live tiny brine shrimp)<OK. Are you using Selcon or some other vitamin additive? Brine shrimp alone are famous for being nutritionally poor in food value>. The nursery is merely a Plexiglas sheet with holes drilled in it for water flow, stuck in kitty-corner, with a small sub-pump moving water from the general area into the sectioned off area, so that their food also ends up in the general population, as well.<OK> Regular chemical supplements are limited to Nature brand Reef Former (1/2 oz daily), plus 1 oz per week of Mg and Sea Alk (also Nature), with the rare gallon of Kalkwasser maybe once a month or two. I do 20% changes @every 3-4 weeks with RO water, although I have gone as long as two months between. I keep the salinity at about .022 +/- .001. There is a great deal of live rock, stacked so that there are many, many passageways and hiding places; I'd guess there's maybe 100 lbs of rock. It supports a pretty broad variety of Caulerpa and corals and other growing things, including spiky looking yellow sponges and flatter orange and red spongiforms. I have more than my fair share of hair algae, but there are only about 50 hermits in there, and the job is just too much for them...<Not surprising. The Caulerpa is probably helping keep nitrates down, but without a skimmer the task is just to big, thus the hair algae is being fertilized> Ok, finally we're at the question part: How do I distinguish between male and female dwarf lions?< Although harder than the Dwarf Fuzzy Lionfish, the males here too have larger heads and slightly larger pectoral fins. The two species can tell the sexes of the OTHER  species apart and will react to a male the same as they would to their own kind> Do you think there's enough room for another lion?<The room probably isn't a problem, but I'd improve the diet> A friend has a small one, @1-1/2" long, but I'm hesitating about bringing it home. Will it be a problem if I end up with 2 females?<Two females usually get along without problem> 2 males?<While not as definite about it as their close relatives, you MAY end up with a dispute between two males, depending on the individual fish involved> One large and one small?<Usually this won't create a problem with the size differences you've given, although to be safe I'd feed the larger one before introducing the new one. Again, you NEED to improve their diet though.> Thanks for your advice,<You're welcome> Donna
Valdosta, GA

Scorpionfishes: Lionfishes & Much More for Marine Aquariums
Diversity, Selection & Care
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